According to the latest TrendForce research, although factors such as panel and component mismatch and supply issues and the fading effects of the stay-at-home economy influenced shipments of e-sports LCD monitors (defined as refresh rates above 100Hz) in 2021, many brands targeted e-sports LCD monitors in 4Q21 with a strategy of aggressively reducing e-sports product pricing to prompt a volume surge and successfully boosted shipments of e-sports LCD monitors to 22.8 million units in 2021, with an annual growth rate of 24%. However, growth momentum will slow in 2022. In addition to long lead times, the most significant variable remains the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war. If the war continues, it will impair European market demand and affect the shipment performance of e-sports-related products. In addition, the Russian-Ukrainian war has triggered a surge in the prices of crude oil, metal, and agricultural commodities, spiking previously growing inflationary pressure. Thus, TrendForce conservatively estimates shipments of e-sports LCD monitors at 26.1 million units in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 14%.
In terms of product types, the market share of flat-screen e-sport LCD monitors reached 59% in 2021, officially surpassing the 41% of curved monitors. Last year, when Samsung Display (SDC) faded out of the supply chain, it caused a shortage in the supply of curved panels, increasing the magnitude of price hikes. In addition, the supply of flat IPS e-sports products continued to increase, resulting in a decline in the competitiveness of the curved panel market. In 2022, the market share of flat and curved panels will remain unchanged but the supply of curved gaming panels from the two major suppliers, AUO and CSOT, will continue to grow with curved e-sports panel pricing the first to fall. The cost-effective advantage of whole curved e-sports devices has reemerged, which will bump the market share of curved e-sports LCD monitors to 43%.
In terms of e-sports product resolution, FHD (1920×1080), QHD (2560×1440), UHD (3840×2160), and Ultra-wide (2560×1080/3440×1440/5120×1440, etc.), in 2021, FHD captured the highest market share at 62.9% followed by QHD, Ultra-wide, and UHD. TrendForce believes, in addition to continuously improving e-sports product specifications, the simultaneous improvement of resolution will assist monitor brands in maintaining or improving profitability. Especially since, starting from 4Q21, the supply of 34-inch (21:9) wide-screen VA products increased significantly. This coupled with noticeable panel price reductions, expands profit margin and allows monitor brands more room to operate and is expected to drive wide-screen monitors to compete for a 13.4% market share in 2022.
High contrast and brightness Mini LED products have been developing aggressively, according to TrendForce’s investigations. Therefore, several LCD monitor brands have launched high-end LCD monitor products with Mini LED backlighting (Mini LED wafer size is defined as between 75~500µm). In 2021, the price of Mini LED-backlit LCD monitors fell between US$2,300 and US$5,000. For example, a 31.5-inch Mini LED backlit model is priced approximately 4 to 8 times that of model of the same size featuring a traditional LED backlight. This is a product that resides at the top of the pyramid. Due to high pricing and its recent introduction, market scale is relatively limited. Total shipments of LCD monitors equipped with Mini LED backlights is estimated at 51,000 units in 2021.
Looking forward to 2022, QD OLED LCD monitors and OLED LCD monitors will join the ranks of products fighting for a share of the high-end LCD monitor market. Mini LED LCD monitor shipments are forecast to reach 65,000 units at most in 2022, or an annual growth rate of 27%.
This year, Samsung was ranked first in market share in terms of Mini LED equipped LCD monitor brands. Its Mini LED LCD monitor targets e-sports players and emphasizes high cost performance, which Samsung has converted into a 58% market share. Dell focuses on professional creators as its main customer base, so its products are designed to meet highly-demanding specifications. Dell takes second place with a market share of 29%. ASUS also specializes in e-sports and comes in third with approximately 12% of the market.
In addition, in terms of the market share of Mini LED backlit LCD monitors based on size, there are currently only three product sizes on the market, 49-inch, 31.5-inch and 27-inch. Samsung has launched an exclusive 49-inch 32:9 model which accounts for the entirety of Samsung’s 58% market share. Both Dell and ASUS have launched 31.5-inch models that account for a 39% market share. Lastly, 27-inch models account for only a 3% market share.
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